The other day I was asked by Diarmuid O’Flynn’s campaign to translate a profile of him published in El País. I was happy to do so because I think the Ballyhea Says No campaign has shown exemplary opposition to the illegitimate debt burden placed on Irish society as a consequence of the bank bailout, both by its continuous protests and the way it kept track of the figures involved.
I also think that the private banking crisis transformed into a sovereign debt crisis, and the austerity policies imposed as a consequence, constitute the most urgent political matter facing not only the population of Ireland but of Europe more broadly. I believe the broadest coalition possible ought to be forged in order to break this deadly stranglehold of debt. Such a coalition would inevitably entail being on the same side as people with whom I have little in common politically, and whose political stances in other areas I might even find anathema.
However I must make clear, in light of this Broadsheet post, and comments on his blog, that I do not endorse Diarmuid O’Flynn’s campaign, and I believe people should not vote for him.
He has said that he will oppose any potential moves emanating from the European Union to liberalise Ireland’s draconian abortion laws. He says he will do this based on the principle of national sovereignty, that it ought to be up to the Irish nation to decide on their laws in this regard, and not the EU.
In effect, he is saying he will use his seat to maintain Ireland’s draconian abortion laws, upholding the power of the Irish State to compel women to give birth. His ‘national sovereignty’ argument in this regard is based on a conception of a nation that can do with women’s bodies as it pleases. Such ideas fly in the face of basic principles of equality and justice. For those who genuinely support such principles, no such nation can be allowed to exist.
A vote for him would be in effect an endorsement of the violation of women’s rights. There is no way, as he suggests in his blog, of ‘prioritising’ the issues he highlights in his manifesto over his stance on this issue, as debt-driven austerity and the liquidation of women’s rights are inextricably linked. To do such a thing would be especially dangerous in light of developments elsewhere in Europe, in particular in Spain, where the implementation of the austerity policies promoted by the Troika goes hand in hand with the re-introduction of restrictive abortion laws. This development is part of a horrifying reassertion of ‘national sovereignty’ on the part of the Spanish government, meaning sovereignty over women’s bodies.